How to Get J-1 Visa to USA in 6 Simple Steps

If you are a foreigner looking to travel to the USA under an exchange visitor program, you must get the J-1 visa before you can legally stay in the country.To make the J-1 visa application process easy for you, we’ve come up with this comprehensive guide.

What is a J-1 US visa?

A J-1 visa is a temporary stay visa usually granted to nonimmigrants looking to travel to the United States on an exchange visitor program.

Before you can get the J-1 visa, you must be covered by an exchange program. And such program must be approved in the arts, sciences, or education fields.

Likewise, your application for the exchange program must be through a sponsor in the US. Such sponsor could be an approved public or private institution.

Who Is Eligible For J-1 Visa?

To qualify for a J-1 visa to the United States, you must be covered by an exchange program as a student, graduate, teacher or professor. In the same vein, scholars, research assistants, interns, trainees and international visitor under an approved exchange program are eligible for J-1 visa.

How to Apply For J-1 Visa

If you want to get J-1 visa, there are specific guidelines you should follow. Check out the required process to get J-1 visa to the United States below:

Fill Your Visa Application Form

The first step is to fill the nonimmigrant application form online. At this stage, you are also required to upload your digital visa photo.

After filling the application form, you can print the confirmation page. It is worthy of mention that this document is required at the consulate or embassy when you attend you attend the visa interview.

Schedule an Interview with the Irish Embassy/Consulate

After filling out the application form and printing the confirmation page, you should reach out to the US embassy or consulate in your locality. Request for an interview session and the officials will schedule a visa interview date accordingly.

Bear in mind that the scheduled interview may be in a few days, weeks or even longer. And this is dependent on certain factors such as the volume of applicants at that time, location and shortage of staff.

Pay the Application Fee

Sometimes, the US embassy or consulate requires applicants to pay the required fee before attending visa interview. If that applies to you, you should make hay while the sun shines. Pay the application fee immediately. But ensure to make consultations with your sponsor before paying the application fee.

Get the Required Documents

Next, you should gather the required documents for visa interview. The embassy officials will not attend to you if you don’t present the necessary docmentations.

We discuss the required documents for J-1 visa in the latter part of this article.

Attend Your Visa Interview

If you are sure that your documents are in order, you can attend your visa interview at the US embassy or consulate in your area.

At the embassy, the officials expect you to prove eligibility for J-1 visa. They will pose certain questions to you and you are expected to answer them satisfactorily.

In some cases, you may be required to submit your fingerprints. However, note that this requirement depends on your country of origin. After capturing your biometrics, you can make arrangements on how get your visa and passport with the officials.

Travel to the United States

After securing your visa, you should be ready to travel to USA immediately.

At the border, the officials will request for your passport and approved visa. Also, you need to submit the DS-2019 form. What this means is that merely securing the J-1 visa is not an automatic to enter the United States.

After verifying the documents at the border, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents will issue paper form I-94 to you. Alternatively, you will get an admission stamp.

J-1 Visa Requirements

Recall that we talked about submitting certain documents during your visa interview. Here, we shed more light on the documentations required to get J-1 visa to the United States.

  • Original copy of your passport valid for not less than 6 months after the date of departure from your country of origin. Exceptions can be made depending on your country or other circumstances.
  • Approved visa photos that meet the requirements. If you are unable to upload the photo, you can take it along for submission at the embassy.
  • Form DS- 2019: This form is initiated after your sponsor registers you into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.
  • Form DS-160: This is the nonimmigrant visa application form. Applicants are expected to fill the form and also submit the confirmation page to the embassy or consulate.
  • Visa fee receipt (If applicable)
  • Form DS- 7002 (Required for participants in the J-1 trainee and intern categories)
  • J-1 Visa Health Insurance

Cost of J-1 Visa

To get an approved J-1 visa to the United States, you are required to pay an application fee of $160

How Long Can J-1 Visa Stay In The US?

Holders of J-1 visa can stay in US for a minimum of 3 weeks and the visa becomes invalid after 5 years.

How to Get an Approved J-1 Visa Photo Cheap & Quick

As stated earlier, one of the basic requirements to get J-1 visa is to submit visa photos that meet the requirements. Thus, we strongly recommend Smartphone iD to this end. The app is not only cheap. It has AI and standby biometrics team that verify visa photo after you create it in a few minutes.

Here’s how to use Smartphone iD:

Step #1: Download the app. It can be downloaded from the Apple of Android store.

Step #2: Select the country for the document. Ex: USA

Step #3: Select the document type. Ex: Visa

Step #4: Take the photo using your device and the in-app instructions.

Step #5: Have the photo emailed or printed and shipped to your home.

Smartphone iD is not only easy-to-use, but it also provides expert verification, in-app sizing and editing, and affordable prices! If you want to fastest way to take your passport photo, you should opt to use the Smartphone iD app.


J-1 visa is quite easy to get if you are a beneficiary of a verified exchange program in the United States. But your application may be refused if you don’t submit the required documents, particularly approved visa photos.

So, download Smartphone iD immediately to get verified visa photos!


Can J-1 Visa Holders Work In The US?

You may be curious to know if J-1 students can work legally in the United States. Well, you’ve got only 20 hours of work weekly. But you can enjoy more than 20 hours of work during official breaks.

Can My J-1 Visa Be Extended?

Yes. You only need an extension of your program

Can I Bring My Family To The United States On J-1 Visa?

You can only bring your spouse and children under J-1 visa. Family members need to aplly for J-2 visa

How Much Is J-1 Visa?

J-1 visa application fee is $160

How To Get Visa Photos For J-1 Visa?

Smartphone iD offers cheap visa photo services

What Does J-1 Visa Expire?

J-1 visa expires after 5 years

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